District Taco is a restaurant chain that serves fresh, healthy, and customizable Mexican food, Yucatan style. Think delicious burritos, tacos, salsa, nachos, quesadillas, and much more.
Founded by Mexican immigrant Osiris Hoil and his neighbor Marc Wallace in 2009, District Taco started as a food cart in Rosslyn, Virginia. Today, District Taco has over a dozen locations across the East Coast of the United States, with ambitious plans to expand across the country and franchise their brand.
To support their aggressive growth, the company needed to build reliable, enterprise-grade systems that were extensible and could be customized to meet stakeholder needs.
District Taco has always been a tech-savvy company. Unwilling to be tied to online ordering software that might limit their ability to meet customer expectations, they developed their own iOS/Android ordering app.
They built everything in-house for all their internal processes too, such as onboarding a new employee, launching a merch shop, processing catering and food orders, etc.
But the developers who had initially built District Taco's systems had not followed clean code practices. Their code was difficult to understand and hard to maintain. Over the years, the company became stuck with legacy code where even the most superficial change, such as setting up a new employee in the system, could take days.
District Taco wanted to move fast, but their codebase simply couldn't follow their business priorities. They realized they needed to do something drastic. So they hired X-Team developers to untangle the mess they were in.
First, X-Teamers wanted to speed up District Taco's deployments. For the legacy infrastructure, they wrote automation pipelines in Google App Engine, which required looking in every nook and cranny of the codebase for hidden, but crucial pieces of code.
Second, X-Teamers helped implement a version control system on GitHub. At one point, District Taco's Director of Digital Josh Foster had to fetch a previous developer's laptop that contained missing code, initially deployed directly to the live environment instead of through a version control system.
So the team invested a large amount of time transferring salvageable components of the existing codebase to GitHub for version control. They also developed a custom-built documentation repository on GitBook for future engineers to reference.
Third, X-Teamers wrote new back-end APIs with FastAPI, the fastest Python framework for production workloads that provides many advantages for writing and deploying new code. A new feature can now be created, prioritized, developed, tested in sandbox, and pushed to production in a few hours. This was unthinkable before.
Finally, X-Teamers moved all back-end technologies to the cloud, so all pieces could connect and rely on each other. No more having to retrieve a laptop from a store to find a file with important code.
X-Teamers are also working on building new infrastructure in Kubernetes, organizing existing repositories, and moving from GitHub issues to Jira so they can better measure and quantify what they're working on.
District Taco's ability to move fast and respond to business conditions was consistently blocked by a slow, malfunctioning codebase. Today, this is no longer the case. All technical metrics have moved down from days to hours. It has given District Taco the ability to become a franchised brand that helps their partners recreate District Taco's unique recipes, processes, and values.
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